Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 6,611 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

The Yellow Time - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

After a week’s conspiracy of whispers,
They sent me into the country to convalesce.

My uncle shuffled his feet and looked away
As if his sister had sent him a Trojan horse.

My aunt opened the window over the cornfield
I was to sleep in the room they kept for strangers.

She brought my breakfast, awkward, on a tray.
No knife…the toast pre-spread, the egg beheaded.
The yolk was a jaundiced eye. Her smile was brittle:
‘A change of scene. You’ll soon be right as rain.’

In the mushroom woods, small worms
Poked in and out. Sap froze like spittle
Last year’s spotted oak leaves, sick with the pest,
Finally gave up the ghost, the death rattle

A cold spring, the buds in the trees bound tight
In their own small pain like the feet of Chinese girls.

It wasn’t until I entered the sun-chinked byre
A bolt clicked open in my iron mask

There in their stalls the separate cattle stood
Like months in order, spars in the farm’s cartwheel,
Joy began to rise like their milky breath.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, February 14, 2010

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